Test batting nominees

Dravid's epics and other heroic tales

Batsmen were thoroughly tested in 2011. Some emerged battle-scarred but triumphant

Sidharth Monga

January 11, 2012

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

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Rahul Dravid is all concentration, England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day, July 29, 2011
Rahul Dravid: opens, carries bat, and then opens in the follow-on © AFP
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Sachin Tendulkar
146 v South Africa
third Test, Cape Town

On January 3 and 4, Dale Steyn, the best fast bowler in the world, bowled high-quality outswing for long periods, with occasional seam thrown in. Often the ball pitched leg and missed off. Once, it even hit off without dislodging the bail. He took five wickets, and would have taken South Africa to an easy series win had the best batsman in the world not denied him. Tendulkar scored 146 to put India in a position from where they could contemplate winning. He stood out of the crease, played at nothing if he couldn't play it under his head, and took 48 off 66 balls in two of Steyn's best spells of the match.

Jacques Kallis
109 not out v India
third Test, Cape Town

India were denied that win by Kallis' second century of the match, which was scored completely out of his comfort zone. South Africa were 53 for 3 when he walked out, and were soon reduced to 130 for 6. He came out at No. 5 because a blow to the ribs in the first innings had already put him out of cricket for two weeks. With the batting crumbling, with four to five painkilling injections in his system, with the temperature at a merciless 35 degrees Celsius, with puffs of dust when the ball landed in the rough, with the series on the line, Kallis bettered his elegant first-innings century.

Kevin Pietersen
202 not out v India
first Test, Lord's

It was the most anticipated cricket match between India and England since the semi-final of the 1987 World Cup. The sides began by sizing each other up. The English openers got a start but got out; Zaheer Khan got wickets but got injured. The situation was crying out for someone to grab it by its throat. Enter Pietersen, without a century at home in the last three years, with critics calling for head. He went on to score his slowest hundred before shifting gears and beating the bowlers to a pulp. Two hundred and two unbeaten runs later, India were a deflated side.

Rahul Dravid
117 v England
second Test, Nottingham

India were without their regular openers, on a pitch on which they had bowled England out for 221, and up against a fiery England attack. Dravid volunteered to open, and showed impeccable discipline, courage and skill in scoring his third century in five Tests. Along the way he was hit on the wrist, popped a painkiller, and resumed his vigil. Forty of his first 51 runs came in boundaries. Thanks to his effort, India secured a 67-run lead despite two slides of 3 for 46 and 6 for 21.

Ian Bell
159 v India
second Test, Nottingham

Bell came back to his No. 3 position with England 67 runs behind and Jonathan Trott's shoulder injured. Two wickets fell even before England reached parity. Bell then opened up the counterattack. He didn't ever feel the need to graft for runs as Dravid had. Bell had a strike rate of over 70 against every specialist Indian bowler, an indication that no one troubled him. The scoring was all around the wicket, and India were powerless to prevent the glut of boundaries. He scored 84 out of England's first 130, and kept dominating until India had been batted out of the match and the series. It was the day the baton was handed over.

Rahul Dravid
146 not out v England
fourth Test, The Oval

India were bruised and battered by the time the final Test of the series rolled around. As the captain said, all that could go wrong had gone wrong. Operating like ghosts, they conceded 591 runs and were expected to provide little resistance to England's push for a whitewash. Opening once again, Dravid carried his bat to take India to their first score of 300 in the series. It was one bloody-minded man against a well-oiled, professional unit waiting to run over everything in its way. Dravid made them wait and wait, and ten minutes after six hours of isolated mastery, he walked out to open in the second innings to hearty applause from all of England. His best was not to be enough, though.

Michael Clarke
151 v South Africa
first Test, Cape Town

Newlands' second Test of the year was played in similarly difficult conditions for batting as the first, and provided another classic. Steyn was there, wreaking havoc once again, and this time it was Australia's No. 5 who thwarted him with a belligerent counterattack. In conditions that made free strokeplay extremely risky, if not outright dangerous, Australia's captain never seemed in undue haste - though he did get to his hundred in a mere 108 balls. Clarke scored 151 of the 244 runs that came during his stay at the crease. The next two team innings in the match didn't add up to his score.


Graeme Smith tucks one away, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, November 11, 2011
Graeme Smith: fourth century in a victorious chase © Getty Images
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Graeme Smith
101 not out v Australia
first Test, Cape Town

None of Smith's 23 Test hundreds has come in a defeat. He has scored more runs and centuries in successful chases than any other batsman. In Tests like this, with a tricky fourth-innings chase to be negotiated, don't look beyond him. On this day he crossed 1000 runs in successful chases, with his fourth century in such circumstances. Amla had enjoyed some luck through two drops; Smith's effort was chanceless. That he pulled out this innings in a season when he was booed by home fans was the cherry on top.

David Warner
123 not out v New Zealand
second Test, Hobart

In one of the year's most riveting Test matches, Warner played one of the year's most memorable innings - albeit one that ended in agony for him. Showing that his positive approach and technique was made as much for the five-day format as for Twenty20, in which he first burst onto the scene, Warner almost single-handedly took Australia close to victory on a track he mastered but his partners didn't. New Zealand's bowlers got considerable movement and swing, and though he kept losing company at the other end, Warner retained his calm while progressing towards the target of 241. His punches through the off side, with minimal effort, stood out, and with the team in crisis, and in the company of a No. 11, he went over the in-field and drove confidently. With just eight needed to win, his partner, Nathan Lyon, dogged until then, was bowled by Doug Bracewell. As Lyon sank to his knees, ruing his dismissal, it was Warner who had greater cause for distress.

Thilan Samaraweera
102 v South Africa
second Test, Durban

Kumar Sangakkara described this innings as "make or break" for Samaraweera, whose patient century marked Sri Lanka's most improved batting show on the tour and was to prove significant in helping them win their first Test in South Africa. He was a late addition to the Test squad for the tour, after being initially overlooked, and batted solidly against a bowling line-up boosted by the inclusion of debutant Marchant de Lange, who bagged seven wickets. Samaraweera had his fortunate moments but used his feet well against legspinner Imran Tahir, and played determinedly in the company of Dinesh Chandimal, with whom he added 111. The partnership helped Sri Lanka get to 338, a total that put enough pressure on South Africa when they came out to bat.

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Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by harshthakor on (January 13, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar's century at Capetown, the ultimate test innings of the year possessing every component of a perfect batting performance.Closely behind are Dravid's back to back hundreds and Warner;s hundred which almost pulled of an epic win.

This year the batsmen were fully tested on bouncy,seamer friendly tracks.To bat for your life Dravid was the ultimate batsman,which he proved.Tendulkar proved in his knock that he can adapt on any wicket against he most lethal bowling.

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 12, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

@ landl47, incorrect as usual, Clarke's brilliant 329 was in 2012. Clarke's 151 was easily the best and we all know it. The Aussie bashers just hate to admit it thoguh! He was up against the world's best attack (at the time) and he dominated them. Case closed!

Posted by engno1 on (January 12, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

Tendulkar "best batsman in the world"? No, he's not. It's either Kallis or Sangakkara. I'd put Cook, Bell and Dravid above him too.

Posted by Criketanand on (January 12, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

@landl47 so only 2 batsmen score a century in the india sa match in cape town and only 2 other batsmen score half century, so explain how was it a batting pitch. i am not committing on which was the best innings but dont be that biased mate that u declare that inning vs best fast bowler on a difficult pitch as batsmen friendly, whereas runs scored by pieterson and bell as better innings. logically pieterson and bell made those against worst bowling so were more useless innings, where as rest of the innings have been better in more tougher conditions with bowlers on top now that is more logical :)

Posted by the_wallster on (January 12, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

Dravid's knock at The Oval was an absolute masterclass. Not only did he open for India when the chips were down as gGautam was injured, but he carried his bat, and then when following on, opened again!! Outstanding individual, and earned the respect of myself (hence my nickname "the_WALLster", and most other English fans during that tour. Kohli et al could learn a thing or two on the Aussie tour currently. Dravid gets my vote! (From England fan)

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

Dravid at Trent Bridge. i was there - it was awesome.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar 146 v South Africa third Test, Cape Town

Yes that was Steyn's best ever spell But the best batsman in the world scored runs easily. that what make Sachin special.

On January 3 and 4, Dale Steyn, the best fast bowler in the world, bowled high-quality outswing for long periods, with occasional seam thrown in. Often the ball pitched leg and missed off. Once, it even hit off without dislodging the bail. He took five wickets, and would have taken South Africa to an easy series win had the best batsman in the world not denied him. Tendulkar scored 146 to put India in a position from where they could contemplate winning. He stood out of the crease, played at nothing if he couldn't play it under his head, and took 48 off 66 balls in two of Steyn's best spells of the match.

Posted by KBanaj on (January 12, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

Rahul Dravid's innings is the best among other player's innings .Other players are also give best performance . But among them Dravid's innings(146*) is one of the best innings at oval. Under pressure & playing away is not easy to play such a a great innings.

Posted by silly_pt on (January 12, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

@landl47:it's ridiculous the way you use India' #1 to your advantage & simultaneously criticize their bowling on other posts. All aforementioned tons were brilliant. Of ones which I have witnessed KP's 202 was the best since that started it all against India & without that it would have been a different series. Dravid's 146* was a marathon effort carrying his bat but I prefer one at Lord's which isn't mentioned. @Dravid_Gravitas: Why on earth you always have to compare Sachin & Dravid? Sachin has done so many things with ease that Dravid can't even dream of & vice versa. Both are great in their places. And if you are unhappy about Sachin being rated highly than Dravid (generally) then its because of the sense of Divinity about his batting. Manjerekar once said that Dravid as a batsman has overachieved & I kinda agree with him. Cricinfo publish.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (January 12, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

Rahul Dravid's 117 at Trent Bridge was brilliant,the pitch was green & really seaming but he handled the English seamers very well.Mike Hussey's 90-odd at Galle was brilliant,even though it wasn't a century.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

@Ariz Khan.. U got it wrong.. Author meant abt SRT facing 48 balls of Steyn's most fearsome 2 spells..(5overs + 6overs = 66 balls).. Not the runs scored.. if u believe cricinfo commentary., one statement tells it all.. "Thats Shane Warne @ 150kmph.." abt a delivery of that spell..

Posted by landl47 on (January 12, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

I'm going to prove which two centuries were the best. Kallis and Tendulkar's hundreds were in the same match (Kallis also got another hundred in that game) and the match was drawn on what was clearly a batsman's paradise. Dravid's 2 hundreds and the hundreds by Clarke and Warner were in games their side lost, so they can't be the best. Samaraweera got his hundred when Vern Philander (who skittled Sri Lanka with 16 wickets for 202 runs in the other 2 tests) wasn't playing, so that doesn't count. Graeme Smith got his runs in an innings in which SA scored 236-2 and he wasn't even the highest scorer in that innings, so he's out. That leaves the two best innings as.....(drum roll) KP's 202 and Ian Bell's 159. Not only are they the two highest scores on the list, but they both came in games which England won against the side which was (at the time) the #1 ranked test side in the world. It's easy to see when you use logic instead of nationalism, isn't it?

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (January 12, 2012, 3:44 GMT)

Someone forgot Angelo Matthews first Test hundred for Sri Lanka v Australia. Most invaluable hundred of the year - for Angelo Matthews that is. It takes courage for a vice-captain to squander and deny his country a chance to win the Test by wasting time to get his personal first hundred.

Posted by jaytirth on (January 12, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

@DrAtharAbbas: Good question. Let me think. Anil Kumble, he invented many ways to bowl a 'straight' delivery with great results once decimating the entire Pakistani team. Sehwag, who has tormented Pakistani bowlers( in test and ODI) like no other Indian batsman. Sachin-less Indian T20 team defeated Pakistan in the finals. Rahul Dravid, whose double hundred on Pakistani soil won us the first test series there. VVS Laxman, who performed against the best aussie bowlers. Kapil Dev, who pulled a miracle world cup victory in 83 beating two times champion WI. As for the fastest bowl that does not take a wicket and goes for a leg-bye, that is the last thing we want.

Posted by Stevo_ on (January 12, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

Warner's doesn't beloing - dumb batting from him at the end cost us the Test

Posted by donda on (January 12, 2012, 2:17 GMT)

Where is sangakara innings against best spin bowling the world to save test against pakistan. that's not fair.

Posted by redneck on (January 12, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

hard to say with this one as over half the nominations were achieved in matches their team lost or drew! dravids resillence in england when everything was falling around him is probably going to get over the line here. i think one of the 2 dravid nominations in england should be changed to his knock in jamaica. india won that test and only did so because of dravids form with the bat. samaweeras was also worth as it helped sri lanka win the test.

Posted by Rajeev1996 on (January 12, 2012, 1:38 GMT)

Dravid in my opinion had the best innings of all mentioned. Clarke and Kallis also played well

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (January 12, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

@DrAtharAbbas, Umm... Take away such comments and you still have comments about Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag etc. RD has had a career of significant overlap with Tendulkar and he is another world class batsman that Indians are proud of. Add Dravid to your list, and your ratio reduces by half. Add Kumble (a champion act, world class spinner with the 3rd highest # of wickets and only the 2nd 10-wicket haul, tactical, courageous and dignified) and the ratio becomes 1/3. Add Ganguly, whose primary merit apart from his batting was in his captaincy, and your ratio is 1/4. Don't forget - he handed Aus a 2-1 drubbing when their all-conquering side had 16 test victories (that had swallowed Pak and other teams). Add other players like Laxman & Sehwag and it isn't hard to see why India got to #1.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (January 11, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

"He stood out of the crease, played at nothing if he couldn't play it under his head, and took 48 off 66 balls in two of Steyn's best spells of the match." yes that was Steyn's best ever spell But the best batsman in the world scored runs easily. that what make Sachin special!!!

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

Tendulkar: in south africa against the best FAST bowling of the time in the series Dravid:in england currently the best bowling in the world today

The difference would be Dravid marathon effort to save the test with back to back new ball facing at least four times in the two innings.. so having the same opportunity as Tendulkar facing the new ball more makes DRAVID the best candidate

Posted by itsjustcricket on (January 11, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

I am a big fan of Tendulkar and his innings was great, but for me Clarke's 151 or Dravid's 146 no. are the two best. I thought Clarke's 151 was superb and did not get the recognition it deserved, overshadowed unfortunately by Australia's second innings debacle. Dravid's runs came on an easier wicket but under more pressure given the way India and England were playing.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (January 11, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

The award goes to Rahul Dravid

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (January 11, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

If cricinfo (hypothetically) decides to delete all Indian comments with the word Tendulkar in it, there would be zero Indian comments left. :D I ask them if they have anything else as their pride? for 22 years they are living with a single point to prove: Tendulkar, Can they show some spinner who is a champion act, any leader who is tactically the best mind, some one faster than Bret Lee/Akhtar, a new delivery invented? Anything else than Tendulkar!

1(one) Tendulkar in one billion population: the talent rate is mathematically 1/1 000 000 000 = 0.000 000 001. In all practicality it can be assumed Zero and has truly been zero in decades. Can someone refute numbers?

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

WHAT ABOUT SANGAKARA MATCH SAVING DOUBLE HUNDRED AGAINST PAKISTAN IN ABU DHABI....................

Posted by Perreniallover on (January 11, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

@ Ariz Khan sachin scored 23 off steyn including 3 boundaries and at a SR of 89 against morkel.......this was his second ton of the series

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

Definitely Dravid. He has been remarkable throughout 2011. He clearly stands out amongst all. I would like to add one more inning of Dravid which is the one which he played against WI in WI and won the match for us. Players like Dravid, Ganguly, VVS and Kumble have contributed a lot to Indian cricket and today if we are fighting for No. 1 position in Test (though poor captaincy and contribution from Dhoni put us on back foot), it is just bcoz of performance from these players only. If you see last 10 years record of India team win, one of these players were involved in that win. I find it very hard to see if Sachin was also involved in any win. Now these so-called young guns, which are capable and suitable for T-20 format only, ruined all respect and killed that fighting spirit. And the funny thing is that players like More, Manjrekar and Gaekwad are asking to drop VVS for T-20 specialists lik Rohit, Virat and Raina... Isn't it funny...

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

Without a doubt it has to be Tendulkars innings, I was at Newlands that day sitting behind Steyn. It was the most ridiculous swing bowling I have ever witnessed, "pitched leg and missed off" that happened time and time again again 145km+. Tendulkar himself said it was the best spell of fast bowling he has ever faced, and that says a lot if you consider that he has faced all the greats of the 80-90s.

Special mention to Clarkes 151, Dravids 146 and King Kallis 109

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

@landl47, Clarke's effort isn't here because that was in 2012, not 2011, and Cook's effort isn't here because, well, any innings where you get to face 36 overs from Sreesanth shouldn't count.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

another Landmark for Wall

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

Definitely has to be Dravid , the fact that most of the time he had no one to support him nd against a hostile English attack at their backyard makes it the obvious one.

Posted by phendel on (January 11, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

wht about Chanderpaul's 100 against India in June to draw the final test.....but i get it since its against a weak India bowling attack

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (January 11, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

It's hard to decide which one of Dravid's was the best inning of 2011. I know for sure of one certain player from India whose fans haven't seen anything remotely close to what Dravid did and achieved - carry his bat as a non-regular opener, score nearly half the team's runs and then come back to open again within 10 minutes. I can imagine how this board would have been spammed if that certain Indian player achieved something remotely close to what Dravid did and achieved. Take my bows The Great Wall! Pleasure to have seen you bat! A True Hero of Indian Cricket along with Kumble, Ganguly (our Dearest Dada) and VVS in this era.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (January 11, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

Either Tendulkar's 146, Dravid's 146 not out or David Warner's 123 not out. Tendulkar's was the best if you watched Steyn bowl, but in the context of the game and series Dravid's was amazing. David Warner was also awesome considering no one else had a clue how to bat on the Hobart pitch (the next highest score was 55 by Ross Taylor, which he struggled in) which Warner made a mockery of by playing with such ease. For me I will go for Dravid because not only was he batting out of his comfort zone (opening and in England!), he attempted to single-handedly carry the team.

Posted by DAHSUT on (January 11, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

surely KPs 202 was the best batting performance of the year at no point in time did he look to get out also the flow that he was playing with set the tone for the series and took england to the world no1 spot.after starting of slow the way he shifted gears was unbelievable.this being said i am an avid indian fan and also i am mad about dravid tendulkar and laxman. but still choosing KP over them shows how much i liked it

Posted by Erebus26 on (January 11, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

I reckon Tendulkar got on the list just because he's Tendulkar and they had to find a place for him somewhere. Dravid's innings are worthy of merit though.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Sidhart - "took 48 off 66 balls in two of Steyn's best spells" gives a wrong notion that Tendulkar scored those runs of Steyn, contrary to the fact that he hardly scored any of him in that innings.

Posted by landl47 on (January 11, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

It's interesting that the two biggest scores of the last year, Clarke's 329 and Cook's 294, aren't here. I guess it says something about the bowling they were facing- both innings were against India.

Posted by sidzy on (January 11, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

no doubt mc clarke in tough conde was tou

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (January 11, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

All of those mentioned here are gr8. I am sure Mr Monga has missed a few good knocks by some others as some of u hv mentioned. Not taking anything from anyone I would vote for those that either resulted in winning a game or at least saving a game. Who is the MVP for their team

Posted by cricket_pak419 on (January 11, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Where is the pakistani players they have a few centuries. Come on hafeez, younis, and Misbah this guys have mad many big tons, but at least include ypunisis double century against bangladesh.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Rahul Dravid @ O!Wall then anyone else

Posted by captainnibbles on (January 11, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Glad to see some love for Bell's innings, it was one of those where he seemed to be playing on a different pitch and against a different attack to everyone else. Pity it was overshadowed by the controversy over his dismissal. I'd put Prior's hundred over KP's at Lords. It came when India were on top having us 5 down, he counter-attacked and utimately got us a lead that didn't look to be possible. Given the result people have dismissed the India team last year, but they were very much in the first two matches and it took performances like that by Prior to gain the ascendancy.

Posted by AidanFX on (January 11, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

One too many Indian innings - given the whitewash in Eng -

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

To round off all the comments1) i would rate Clarke's 151 as the best considering the conditions and attack he was against (although Sachin's also comes close but there is Kallis scoring 2 consecutive 100s in the same match which is marginally better).2)Rahul Dravid as the test batsman of the year for his impeccable consistency and class (no mention about the knocks by Dravid and laxman in WI BUT mind you WI bowling is better than Indian bowling)Bell,KP all have scored tons against Indian bowlers which is a norm (Ask Hussey and Punter).this makes Dravid's knocks even more worthwhile.He had nothing for support throughout the English summer.Mediocre bowling,poor fielding and captaincy and aged and weak fellow batters.Also his 100 scored as an opener should also be mentioned.(which is not his usual slot.)

Posted by nickydude on (January 11, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

Cudn't you have mentioned Sachin's innings without adding " best batsman in the world " ? For me, Dravid's all 3 centuries will stand out, since Dravid is always made the sacrifical goat to open, the position which has no comparision in negotiating. I wud really to see Sachin opening a innings to end this debate once & for all.

Posted by KrisMcDonald on (January 11, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Not that it takes anything away from it, but Hussey's innings in Galle wasn't a ton - he was out for 95. Also, Mahela Jayawardene scored 105 in the 4th innings of that match so the pitch wasn't totally unplayable. I personally didn't see a lot of these innings but it's hard to think that any of them could've been better than Clarke's 151. The fact that Steyn's spell is nominated (and will probably win) for the bowling award probably says enough about Sachin's innings at Cape Town, and Kallis for all the factors against him rounds out my top 3

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

I would go with Rahul Dravid's 146

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 11, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

Best innings of the year is always a great debate. However, talking of "… epics and heroic" innings, Kallis' achievements in the Cape Town test are unparalleled. 1st innings, after Boucher fell at 6-262, he nurtured the S A tail with whom he added another HUNDRED runs, the 4 bowlers scoring only 21. Last to fall, he posting the highest score of the test - 161 - & in the last 20 overs scored 59 runs after Sree broke his ribs with SA at 288.

2nd innings. With SA struggling at 4-64, in immense pain Kallis carried his bat for 6.3 hours, scoring an undefeated century & taking SA to a match & series saving 341.

Sid Monga, author of this piece, wrote about it on Cricinfo. 159 readers commented. Read them. http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-india-2010/content/story/495562.html

After the match Harghajan said "After Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis is the best player in the world."

1 test. 2 centuries. 270 runs. Broken ribs. Series saved. Maybe Harbhajan - but no-one is tougher!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 11, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Anand Bharadwaj - Clarke's 151 was scored on the same wicket on which Amla scored 112 and Smith scored 102. Their centuries came directly after Australia's infamous 9 for 21! To completely take the match away from Australia I'm pretty sure they played with "a sense of control."

Posted by Avidcricketlover on (January 11, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Take the award and give it to Samaraweera. How many people would have said that Thilan would score back to back centuries in SA against the world's best bowling attack in their own backyard. Man, I believe now that he is a good batsman !.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

where is sangakkaras match saving double century against pakisth and another match saving century against england in england both against top quality spin and top quality swing and seam bowlers like anderson,tremlet,broad,gul,ajmal and swann

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (January 11, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

@Handalf The-Bez I agree with you. It was an absolute scorcher!! The way Steyn bowled in that match was remarkable. If not for Sachin, India would have lost the match & also the series. Kallis also played an absolute blinder in 2nd innings to deny India the series victory!! It's tough to chose b/w Sachin & Kallis though. I was surprised to see Dravid's 146* against Eng on probably the flattest wicket i.e OVAL in England in the list(check Asia's batsmen record in Oval)!!

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

what About Dilshans 192 at loards, and sangakkaras 211 in UAE to save the match, and Hussy's hundred in galle, lolzz

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 11, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

Hussey and Sanga deserved a mention.. Atleast Hussey as the 100 was really awesome in tough conditions.. I would have taken out Dravid's 100 in oval and put Hussey's monumental effort there.. In terms of class and preservance, Sachin, Kallis in Cape Town and Hussey's innings were real classy last year not necessarily in same order..

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

I can't believe Sanga's 211 is not on the list.

Posted by mrgupta on (January 11, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

It has to be Sachin's inning. Absolutely fabulous, one of the most fierce spell in modern cricket was managed with aplomb by the master. Kallis's inning was great too given the pain he had to overcome and also the pressure, but he didn't have to face the hostile bowling that Steyn and Morkel were throwing at Sachin during his innings. The true class of the inning is revealed if you look at the quality of the bowling at the other end.

Posted by JustOUT on (January 11, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

G.Smith is the man for fourth innings. I have never seen a batsman playing with such confidence in 4th innings WHEN IT MATTERS.

Posted by Meety on (January 11, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

The best thing about the year that was, is that batting has been a fair bit harder than previous & so most 100s have been more appreciated.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 11, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

wow, 6/10 performances involve India in it..... Not sure if anybody realizes, but India has lost 6 consecutive Tests this year.... many by an innings loss. How could 6/10 best performances be with them when there are 8 other Teams in the world that played cricket this year? Cricinfo trying to satiate the India fan readers? What about Hussey's century in Sri Lanka under hard conditions (pitch was actually cited) or Sanga's Double Century in Pakistan which helped avoid defeat?

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

I saw about half of these innings. As a South African fan, my vote would have to go to Sachin's 146 at Newlands (even though I'd love to vote for Kallis's follow-up in that same Test). Dale Steyn was absolutely on FIRE in that innings. About the only thing Sachin could've done to make his innings more epic was to weather a couple lightning bolts on the chin and get up to continue. It was incredible (and extremely frustrating for me to watch).

Posted by Rosh1 on (January 11, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

What on earth happened to Kumar Sangakkara's match saving double century against Pakistan?

Posted by Kreacher_Rocks on (January 11, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

Kallis, for sure. He scored 2 centuries that match, the second with broken ribs, and was the last man standing. India prior to the WC was a different test team, and looking at the eventual 166 for 3 by India, you get the feeling that if Kallis didn't bat or got out cheaply, India might well have chased down the South African target.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

dravid 117 at nottingham - the toughest pitch of the year

Posted by Aubm on (January 11, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

For me it's between SRT's heavyweight duel with Steyn, Dravid's "Violins on the Titanic" 4th test effort, and Warner's effort that came so close to making him an instant Aussie legend.

Posted by HatsforBats on (January 11, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Poor Dravid, he typifies the aging batsman. Solid as a rock in test conditions against the top side in the world in England and scores 3 centuries. Comes to Australia and gets his stumps splayed 3 times (and counting).

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 11, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

woah im so sorry but you missed probably the most inpressive hundred. mike hussey in galle on that pitch that nobody could get a handle of!

Posted by trueindian on (January 11, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Rahul Dravid was great, Smith and Bell were awesome and this giving due respect to all other efforts, Warner and Kallis had THE innings. Out of this two, one was a debutant and the other had jus broken his ribs. In intense pain and side in the doldrums, Kallis played a magnificient and another utterly unforgettable innings, not to forget the constant pressure from critics ( he is always required to prove that he is the best which I reckon he is already. Nope Tendulkar isn't.). Warner played what every debutant aspires for--- an unforgettable century. It would have been great if only his century had come in win but then it gives us hope about the things and performances to come ahead. Kallis WINS

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Ian Bell's innings was the shocker for India. I think that was the best inning of the year.

Posted by vanthli on (January 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

WHERE IS T.UMER 236 vs SL?

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar for me..

Posted by starofcricinfo on (January 11, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

Tough competition among Dravid,Clarke,Kallis and Warner . I am voting to David Warner.

Posted by FoollyFedUp on (January 11, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

And India is thinking of dropping RD for WACA? BCCI and Indian media always known for strategic accumen.

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 11, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

Clarke's wonderful 151 was clearly the best innings in this list. Sachin's hundred (as usual) came in the first innings. Dravid's knocks also well worth a mention.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

Michael Clarke's 151 at Cape Town would be my pick for the simple reason that no other batsman could play on that wicket with any sense of control. He showed that his batsmanship was a class apart.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 3:44 GMT)

No doubt the innings of the year was from Dravid, may be it came in a losing cause , but it was a well fought one, without which India would have suffered huge humiliation, carrying the bat itself is a mammoth task , but the person he is he came back to open again..Hats'off to the great person 'The Wall' !!!

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

Rahul Dravid for any of his knocks

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

no kamran akmal's century with razzaq's contribution against india ?

Posted by   on (January 11, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

The article heading and the picture at the top clearly shows the best batsman of 2011 was. Undoubtedly - Rahul Dravid. Wish you a colorful and a wonderful birthday Dravid.

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